Following up their publication of Charles Portis’s “Motel Life, Lower Reaches” online, the Oxford American brings us a speech in verse by Jay Jennings, the editor of a recent compilation of Portis’s work (which our own Bill Morris reviewed). Jennings delivered an ode to Portis to mark the author winning the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Sample quote: “But you read the next book because the main character was from Little Rock,/and you knew no other book where the main character was from Little Rock/and you wanted to write a book about Little Rock.”
“If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.” April 30th is Independent Bookstore Day. Celebrate early with a revisit to this 2012 essay by Ann Patchett on the resilience of the indie bookstore. Here’s an interview with Janet Geddis, founder of Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA, on deciding to become a bookseller.
Charles D’Ambrosio‘s Loitering has officially made it into our Hall of Fame. It was also a finalist for the PEN award for the Art of the Essay. Now the book’s preface is available on the PEN website, just in case all the book’s popularity and prizes haven’t yet convinced you to read it.
At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova shares a series of drawings (produced in collaboration with Debbie Millman) that map the regions of the US according to literary quotations. Thoreau, perhaps not surprisingly, gets the East Coast with a quote from Walden, while Year in Reading alum Jeffrey Eugenides represents the Midwest.
“Blackness in the white imagination has nothing to do with black people.” Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric, is interviewed over at The Guardian on everything from Serena Williams to her emotionally volatile book signings to the inescapability of racism.